Background and aims: In this cross-sectional study we investigate the association between handgrip strength (HGS) and muscle function of the lower limbs and the predictors of the appendicular lean mass index (ALMI) in older adults with obesity of both sexes. Methods and results: Eighty-four older (67 ± 5 years) men (N = 44) and women (N = 40) with obesity (body mass index (BMI) 33 ± 4 kg/m2) performed: the HGS, isokinetic knee extensors (KE) and flexors (KF) muscle strength and power and Short Physical Performance Battery (SPPB). The correlation between HGS and lower limbs muscle function was evaluated, and four multiple hierarchical linear models were built to assess the contribution of each ALMI predictor (i.e., HGS, BMI, SPPB, muscle strength and power). In men, HGS was weakly-to-moderately associated (p < 0.05) with KE, KF muscle function and physical performance. In women, HGS showed a weak association (p < 0.05) with KE muscle function. The significant predictors of ALMI were only the BMI in women, whereas in the group of men BMI, KE maximal strength and power better explain the variance in ALMI than HGS alone. Conclusion: Our results suggest that HGS should not be used alone as a marker of lower muscle nor physical function. Sex differences exist with the BMI that is a contributor of ALMI both in men and women. However, at least in the group of men, markers related to strength and power of the lower limbs can better describe variations in ALMI compared to HGS in this kind of population.
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